Other questions on reincarnation

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by intrepidlover, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am aware that Buddhism has a different teaching on reincarnation than for example Theosophy and various occult schools.

    1. Is there a period of time between death and rebirth? What is the length of this time and does it vary from soul to soul?

    2. Given that Buddhism was founded at around 500 B.C., and the future of planet earth is uncertain to say the least, if it requires many incarnations to achieve enlightenment, what happens if the earth is destroyed in the foreseeable future due to pollution or nuclear war for example? Would the souls incarnate on some other planet that is suited for human existence?

    Well that will do for starters. :)
     
  2. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,289
    Likes Received:
    21
    The pedant in me distinguishes between re-incarnation and re-birth, although not everyone makes this distinction. Buddhism is not one monolithic entity, nor is it frozen in time, set in stone...

    It is a living project...

    I suspect your answer would depend upon the school. Bardo is I think associated with the Vajrayana school, so best leave that to Vaj to answer! As to "soul" I think this is not something to be found (within Buddhism).

    Bit dangerous to generalise; rather like trying to herd cats!

    Personally, I think that Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike are likely to be dead in such a scenario...


    Had you got one in mind??!!:p:eek:

    I'm concerned with my way of being in the here and now...

    s.
     
  3. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can you define for me the difference between reincarnation and rebirth? Then I might be in a position to assess whether you are being pedantic.
    It is a common notion for people who wish to discredit Buddhism to refer to countless incarnations.
    Are you saying then that there is no mention in Buddhism of other inhabitable planets?
    So am I, but in this "here and now" I am trying to learn about Buddhism.
     
  4. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    2
    They mean the same thing.


    Why does that discredit Buddhism?


    Why would it have to be suited to human existence? As I stated in the other similar thread, this is about awareness... not about humanity. What ever being is aware and "born" would be suitable for rebirth.
     
  5. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,833
    Likes Received:
    68
    Reincarnation and rebirth do not mean the same thing. Buddhists do not believe in a soul, and they use the word "rebirth" to emphasize the idea that "something" reincarnates but it is not a soul. Buddists are the only people who distinguish reincarnation and rebirth. (Buddhists use the word "rebirth" to emphasize that they are different from people who believe in a soul.)

    If an atomic war destroyed all life on earth we would probably wait for physical evolution to start all over again, and we would wait millions of years for another race of human bodies to appear that we could then "be reborn" into. But more likely, there would be two or three people left who would survive, and they would eventually repopulate the world. Once the radiation disappeared in thousands or millions of years, we would pick up where we left off.
     
  6. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thanks for clarifying.

    I didn't realize that reincarnation implied a soul. :eek:
     
  7. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,833
    Likes Received:
    68
    "I didn't realize that reincarnation implied a soul."

    --> Yes. This is why Buddhists say rebirth instead of reincarnation.
     
  8. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    2
    I don't know about that. Why not be born into a being of similar karma on another planet? I don't see any reason we have to be bound to the Earth.
     
  9. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,833
    Likes Received:
    68
    CZ,

    It is a fascinating question. Who knows?
     
  10. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Christians who believe in one life only, love to use this argument (countless incarnations) to discredit Buddhism.
    In the event that there were no human bodies, I guess they could inhabit the bodies of aliens, or perhaps cockroaches, as these small creatures are considered most likely to survive a cataclysmic event.
     
  11. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,833
    Likes Received:
    68
    "Christians who believe in one life only, love to use this argument (countless incarnations) to discredit Buddhism."

    --> It is better not to argue with closed-minded people. The number of incarnations is not countless, but again, only discuss this with open-minded people, otherwise you are wasting your time.
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,833
    Likes Received:
    68
    "In the event that there were no human bodies, I guess they could inhabit the bodies of aliens, or perhaps cockroaches, as these small creatures are considered most likely to survive a cataclysmic event."

    --> I disagree. I strongly disagree with the idea that human 'souls' can live in animal and insect bodies. I think we would have to 'hang around' for a couple millon years waiting for human bodies to reappear.
     
  13. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    2,268
    Likes Received:
    110
    Atman (soul aka, an "individual") is used in Buddhist doctrine.
    The atma is the individual spirit spark of the great spirit.
    Buddhism says an "individual" is re-born into a future body according to the "individual's" Karma (karmic results of acts preformed by the "individual").

    Each new future birth is without the identity possessed in the prior life ---so each new future birth brings a new ego that the individual self-identifies themselves as.

    All souls are Non-material and thus, when not bound to self-ego(s) [as per their species of life that the individual's soul is born into] may strive to stop the process of Birth & Death [samsara] and attain the only ABSOLUTE state that is available to the individual's soul: Nirvana.
     
  14. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Would you say that a typical, average Buddhist was open minded? I think they are just as bound up in dogma as are Christians.

    I have observed this from Buddhists I know personally, especially but not exclusively a Chinese Buddhist nun who has been a close friend for some years.

    She is so brainwashed by the nuns of her order that she was not permitted to even see me, apart from an initial visit, when she was in Sydney last year. She was planning to stay with me but was forbidden to live under the same roof as a man. Was it jealousy or was it dogma? I don't know.

    After that one visit I did not hear from her again until the night before she was returning to China, when she rang to say goodbye.

    This is just one example but there have been others where Buddhists have been totally bound up in dogma.
     
  15. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    2,268
    Likes Received:
    110
    You are be-gruding a Nun's discipines?

    Dogma and a Nun's High-Status of behavior are the same? No they are not.

    The life of renunciation is beyond the average person's preview.

    Olympian athletes and Phd canidates and fashion-models and commandos-in-training and Competetive Hot-Dog Eaters ALL have different itineraries.

    A Nun is celebate! One's mind must be carefully cultivated away from mundane and sensual treats.

    Must one be more graphic to convey the mood of celebate renunciates to householders?

    Most Habits are learned by seeing others indulge in its 'Rasa'.

    Rasa (literal: taste, state of love, relation, mood, emotion, mellow)
    * Rasa - (Yoga): Definition
     
  16. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,289
    Likes Received:
    21
    No I wasn't. There are many suttas (what you might call parables) and I've not read them all so maybe there are references to other inhabitable planets. However, the thrust of Buddhism is concerned with dukkha (commonly, but not very helpfully translated as suffering).

    s.
     
  17. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,289
    Likes Received:
    21
    I think you can forget about the jealousy. When she became a nun she signed up to a set of rules. All societies have rules, some explicit, some implicit. When you join a club you go in with your eyes open and you've read the rule book first.

    ...and the original rule book (the Patimokkha) was created by Siddhatha Gotama himself. That must make him the original Mr Dogma :D

    s.
     
  18. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0

    Buddhism teaches that there is a process of transmigration from one existence (or life) to another existence (or life), but there is no unchanging individual (or soul). This is consistent with the teaching on impermanence - that a thing changes from moment to moment. So each individual is a stream of its changing aggregates and these streams don't get mixed up. In this way, each individual creates their own karmas and experiences their own fruits of their karmas.


    If a being commits one of the so-called five heinous acts, then there is no time period between the being's death and its rebirth in the hells. Similarly for those are to be born in the formless realms.


    When a being dies, he/she/it will be reborn in one of the six realms of existences. If the earth is destroyed or indeed if the entire universe is destroyed, the being will be reborn in another universe or another planet that is compatible with his/her/its karmic destiny.
     
  19. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was told this about 25 years ago by a friend who had been a practicing Buddhism for 20 years. I understood the bit about "changing from moment to moment," because I can relate to that in my own life.

    But I don't understand the bit about being reborn as a person who has no recollection of previous lives, because they are no longer THAT particular person. But perhaps I have that part wrong.
     
  20. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nope, in this case it was at least partly or more likely largely, jealousy. When I first met the girl in a coffee shop, there was an immediate mutual attraction. At the time she was staying in a house owned by a married Buddhist couple. She was quite free to see me as often as she liked. As she knew hardly any English, the lady of the house translated emails. After a period of time the emails stopped. Then one day she rang me, now with a working knowledge of English, and came to visit me. She was returning to China in one week and urged me to go with her and stay with her mother and herself. She also wanted to stay with me for the remaining week of her stay in Australia. I was pretty cheesed off that we had been denied the opportunity of ongoing meetings now that she knew some English.

    Apparently the woman who translated the emails had decided that I should at least invite the girl out for a meal, and that I was hence an unsuitable male friend.. How do you invite a girl for a meal who doesn't eat after midday? When she returned from China for a brief visit last year, she was permitted to see me just once. She was hugging me, snuggling into me and crying because she had missed me so much. Definitely not Platonic.

    I apologize if these personal details are not appropriate for this forum, but I felt the need to challenge your negation of an element of jealousy.
     

Share This Page